Community-level Management of Human Health Risks from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with Defensive Natural Capital Investments
       
     
The Charitable Giving Value of People's Best Friend
       
     
Beyond the Bonus: Reuniting and Adapting to Fragmented Habitat for Red Wolf Recovery
       
     
The burden of success: Who should manage species removed from the endangered species list?
       
     
Mangroves shelter coastal economic activity from cyclones
       
     
(Not So) Gently Down The Stream: River Pollution and Health in Indonesia
       
     
Poverty, Rural Population Distribution and Climate Change
       
     
Climate Change and Poverty-Environment Traps
       
     
Market accessibility and economic growth: Insights from a new dimension of inequality
       
     
Linking listing and delisting decisions under the Endangered Species Act: A case study of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
       
     
Cross-Jurisdictional Management of a Trophy-Hunted Species
       
     
Does Land Degradation Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?
       
     
Debt, Poverty and Resource Management in a Rural Smallholder Economy
       
     
GRAY WOLF POPULATION PROJECTION WITH INTRASPECIFIC COMPETITION
       
     
Community-level Management of Human Health Risks from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with Defensive Natural Capital Investments
       
     
Community-level Management of Human Health Risks from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with Defensive Natural Capital Investments

Funded by Environmental Protection Agency STAR Grant (2017-2020)

Collaborators:

Randall Etheridge (East Carolina University)
Ariane Peralta (East Carolina University)
Charles Sims (University of Tennessee Knoxville)

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) support local economies but are associated with air, surface and groundwater pollution. Community-level management of pollution-related health risks requires (i) a local capacity to identify at-risk neighborhoods and (ii) an understanding of how community defensive investments into physical capital and natural capital relate to one another in their capacity to reduce human exposure to contaminants. Such community-based responses to health externalities recognize that command-and-control style upstream regulation may be less cost effective and potentially more harmful to downstream communities when livelihoods depend critically on local industries. Community-led mitigation of human health risks must make targeted investments into public infrastructure and natural capital to expand the flows of public services and ecosystem services to at-risk households. (1) Objectives. We propose a multidisciplinary social-ecological (economics/econometrics, ecological engineering, soil ecology) modeling and empirical investigation to (i) identify and measure the effect of swine production operations on local human health, (ii) examine if land cover, soil types, hydrographic relationships and public institutions mediate health outcomes and (iii) construct neighborhood-specific recommendations to inform community-level management of human health risks. We hypothesize that CAFO-linked contaminants cause downstream adverse health outcomes, which are attenuated by natural capital between source contaminants and households. We also hypothesize that natural capital is more valuable to those communities lacking public services, which buffer communities from upstream contaminants.

The Charitable Giving Value of People's Best Friend
       
     
The Charitable Giving Value of People's Best Friend

A Troxler-funded project.  

Collaborators: 

Kayla Clark (ECU School of Art and Design)
Greg Howard (ECU Economics)
Yuanhao Li (Norwegian School of Economics)
John Whitehead (Appalachian State University)

Humans have domesticated dogs for over 20,000 years. Canine companionship, used routinely to treat mental health disorders, is associated with prosocial behavior.  Yet, no study has tested if dogs increase charitable behavior in the public. Teaming with the Salvation Army during the holiday season, we will test if the presence of a dog at a bell ringing station increases donations using a randomized field experiment. A comprehensive monitoring of foot traffic and donation activity across at a large retail store will allow us to measure (i) donation frequency as it relates to observed foot traffic, (ii) donation intensity associated with each dog and (iii) avoidance and attractant behavior as it relates to a dog’s perceived characteristics.  Using dogs as a passive solicitation mechanism avoids appealing to empathy and is therefore insulated against welfare losses associated with active solicitation. Better understanding charitable spillovers of dogs, along intensive and extensive margins, may inform increased partnerships between animal shelters and donation-funded non-profit organizations.   

Beyond the Bonus: Reuniting and Adapting to Fragmented Habitat for Red Wolf Recovery
       
     
Beyond the Bonus: Reuniting and Adapting to Fragmented Habitat for Red Wolf Recovery

Funded by USDA-Center for Behavioral and Experiment Agri-Environmental Policy Research (CBEAR)

Collaborators:

Yuanhao Li (Norwegian School of Economics)
David Finnoff (University of Wyoming)
Jason Shogren (University of Wyoming)

The red wolf (Canis rufus), a gray wolf-coyote hybrid species, was declared endangered in 1967 and extinct in the wild in 1980.  Captive populations were reintroduced in 1987 launching a long-standing recovery effort. Today, approximately 50 to 75 wild red wolves populate five counties in eastern North Carolina constituting the world’s only wild red wolf population. Habitat loss spurred a westward migration of the population onto private agricultural lands without which population recovery would be infeasible. Successful recovery is also threatened by interbreeding, or hybridization, with local coyote populations, which jeopardizes the species’ genetic distinctiveness and will remain a concern until recovery is complete. Hybridization is prevented by sterilizing a "placeholder" coyote population that defends a buffer territory between fertile coyotes and red wolves accounting for a significant portion of the recovery budget.  The spatial pattern of red wolf recolonization, arising from private agricultural land retirement choices, therefore influences species recovery and recovery costs. The policy problem is to incentivize private agricultural landholders to voluntarily modify their land to accommodate the growing population while financing an anti-hybridization program that is increasingly costly in habitat fragmentation.

Landowner incentive programs are common, often voluntary and pay a fixed rental rate on retired parcels of land. The fixed payment structure does not reward the added benefit that accompanies interconnected habitat. The agglomeration bonus is an incentive program that rewards the added value of contiguous habitat with a one-time bonus on adjacent retired parcels. The agglomeration design is vulnerable to overcompensating "green" landholders and undercompensating "brown" landholders because rental rates and bonus payments are fixed. An alternative and potentially cost-effective approach is to target landholders spatially using payments realized through a reverse auction that ensures contiguity is achieved.  Both the agglomeration and spatial targeting mechanisms attempt to provide least-cost contiguous habitat. We expand this line of work by recognizing wildlife agencies choose between (i) reuniting fragmented habitat for species recovery and (ii) implementing costly conservation methods to foster species recovery in fragmented areas.

The burden of success: Who should manage species removed from the endangered species list?
       
     
The burden of success: Who should manage species removed from the endangered species list?

Collaborators: 

David Aadland (University of Wyoming)
David Finnoff (University of Wyoming)
Charles Sims (University of Tennessee)

This paper examines optimal wildlife management in a spatial predator-prey model.  The model is motivated by the spatiotemporal dynamics between elk, wolves, hunters and cattle ranchers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).  Wildlife managers set hunting rates for elk and wolves to maximize the stream of ecosystem services derived from the GYE over time.  The management component of the model considers tradeoffs between tourism, hunting, and cattle grazing currently facing wildlife managers.  The predator-prey component of the model incorporates intraspecific competition and spatially explicit predation risk calibrated to the GYE.  Contrary to a recent judicial ruling that has placed a moratorium on hunting wolves in Wyoming, optimal management within our model calls for more aggressive wolf hunting outside of Yellowstone National Park (YNP). We also find that a more equitable distribution of ecosystem service provisioning across the U.S. states surrounding YNP can be achieved with only modest losses in welfare.

Mangroves shelter coastal economic activity from cyclones
       
     
Mangroves shelter coastal economic activity from cyclones

Funded by Oak Ridge Affiliated University's POWE Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

Collaborators:

Stuart Hamilton (Salisbury University)
Edward Barbier (Colorado State University)

Mangroves shelter coastlines during hazardous storm events leaving coastal communities experiencing mangrove deforestation increasingly vulnerable to economic damages resulting from cyclones.  To date, the benefits of mangroves in terms of protecting coastal areas have been estimated only through individual case studies of specific regions or countries. Using spatially referenced data and statistical methods, we track from 2000 to 2012 the impact of cyclones on economic activity in coastal regions inhabited by nearly 2,000 tropical and subtropical communities across 23 major mangrove-holding countries.  We find that direct cyclone exposure results in a permanent loss of economic activity of 5.4 to 6.7 months for a community with average mangrove extent (6.3 m), whereas a community with more extensive mangroves (25.6 m) experiences a 50% reduction in these losses.  These results suggest that mangrove restoration efforts for protective benefits may be more cost-effective, and mangrove deforestation more damaging, than previously thought.

(Not So) Gently Down The Stream: River Pollution and Health in Indonesia
       
     
(Not So) Gently Down The Stream: River Pollution and Health in Indonesia

Collaborators:

Teevrat Garg (UC San Diego)
Evan Kresch (Oberlin College)
Stuart Hamilton (Salisbury University)
John Talbot (Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative)

Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of mortality in developing countries. We emphasize a previously ignored cause of diarrhea- upstream river bathing. Using newly constructed data on upstream-downstream hydrological linkages along with village census panel data in Indonesia, we find that upstream river bathing can explain as many as 2,180 diarrheal deaths each year. Our results, which are net of avoidance behavior, show no effect of trash disposal on diarrheal infections. Furthermore we find that individuals engage in avoidance behavior in response to trash disposal (visible pollutants) but not river bathing (invisible pollutants). We conduct policy simulations to show that targeting upstream individuals could generate substantial environmental and health savings relative to targeting downstream individuals. This provides a potential roadmap for low- and middle-income countries with limited resources for enforcement of water pollution.

Poverty, Rural Population Distribution and Climate Change
       
     
Poverty, Rural Population Distribution and Climate Change

Accepted at Environment and Development Economics. 2017.

Formerly Poverty and the Spatial Distribution of Rural Population World Bank Policy Research Working Paper #7101.

Collaborators: 

Edward Barbier (Colorado State University)

Our spatial analysis indicates that in 2000 over one third of the rural population in developing countries was located on less favored agricultural land and areas, which are constrained by biophysical conditions or poor market access.  We examine whether these spatial distributions of rural population in 2000 influence subsequent changes in the rate of poverty from 2000 to 2012 in 83 developing countries.  We find no evidence of a direct impact on changes in poverty, but there is a significant indirect impact via the elasticity of poverty reduction with respect to growth. If climate change leads to more people concentrated in these areas, or an increase in unfavorable agricultural regions, then the poverty-reducing impact of overall per capita income growth could be further weakened.  Reducing poverty will require targeting rural populations in less favored lands and remote areas and encouraging out-migration.

Climate Change and Poverty-Environment Traps
       
     
Climate Change and Poverty-Environment Traps

Accepted at Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 2017.

Collaborators: 

Edward Barbier (Colorado State University)

Populations in developing countries that are located in less-favored agricultural areas (LFAA) and rural low-elevation coastal zones (LECZ) are not only at risk from the most severe and long-lasting climate change impacts but also susceptible to poverty-environment traps that further increase their vulnerability to these impacts.  We estimate that around 586 million people with high infant mortality live in LFAA and 85 million in the rural LECZ, although both these populations have declined from 2000 to 2010. Nearly all are in low-income or lower middle-income countries, and twenty economies account for most of the LFAA or rural LECZ populations with high infant mortality.  We examine the economic and environmental impacts of climate change for the rural poor in LFAA and LECZ and discuss policy strategies for mitigating the impacts of climate change on poverty, including the susceptibility to the poverty-environment trap, among rural households in LFAA and LECZ.

Market accessibility and economic growth: Insights from a new dimension of inequality
       
     
Market accessibility and economic growth: Insights from a new dimension of inequality

Hochard, Jacob, and Edward Barbier. "Market accessibility and economic growth: Insights from a new dimension of inequality." World Development (2017).

Collaborators:

Edward Barbier (Colorado State University)

We modify an endogenous growth model to allow for households' differential access to markets. Such local production spillovers highlight a new dimension of inequality arising through geographic remoteness and predicts divergent growth patterns among countries with poorly market-integrated households. The model is tested using an instrumental variables approach that takes advantage of the relationship between market accessibility and exogenous geographic features of the landscape as well as spatial data derived from a unique global dataset characterizing country-level market accessibility distributions. We find evidence that production spillovers diminish concavely across space before tapering off convexly in remote areas. This result suggests that the marginal household exhibiting production spillovers is located approximately five hours from the nearest market center. The policy implications are that governments could adopt pro-growth inequality-reducing policies using targeted infrastructural investments, relocation subsidies or income redistribution mechanisms. Based on our spillover threshold estimates, these policies would be access-equality enhancing for 5.1 billion people globally and access-equality reducing for 825 million people globally. We also present findings that growth divergence occurs among countries with geographically less pervasive markets. This outcome may explain why wealthier nations exhibit divergent growth paths relative to poorer nations.

Linking listing and delisting decisions under the Endangered Species Act: A case study of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
       
     
Linking listing and delisting decisions under the Endangered Species Act: A case study of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

Sims, Charles, David Finnoff, Alan Hastings, and Jacob Hochard. "Listing and Delisting Thresholds under the Endangered Species Act." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 99, no. 3 (2017): 549-570.

Collaborators: 
Charles Sims (University of Tennessee)
David Finnoff (University of Wyoming)
Alan Hastings (University of California, Davis)

We consider the case where a species provides a flow of economic benefits, is threatened by possible extinction, and is being considered for addition to the Endangered Species List.  Listing the species as endangered is costly but increases the flow of social benefits and reduces the likelihood of extinction.  If the species recovers sufficiently, is more abundant than initial estimates, or less valuable than previously thought, additional costs can be incurred to subsequently delist the species.  By treating listing and delisting as a pair of linked investment options, we show that delisting is difficult to justify economically.  We also illustrate that listing decisions are more influenced by biological sources of uncertainty while economic uncertainty is more influential in delisting decisions.  Biological sources of uncertainty may cause species most in need of protection to be passed over in favor of more stable species that represent a “sure bet” for species preservation.

 

Cross-Jurisdictional Management of a Trophy-Hunted Species
       
     
Cross-Jurisdictional Management of a Trophy-Hunted Species

Hochard, Jacob, and David Finnoff. "Cross-jurisdictional management of a trophy-hunted species." Journal of Theoretical Biology 420 (2017): 41-52.

Collaborators:

David Finnoff (University of Wyoming)

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are managed for competing uses in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Tourism benefits Yellowstone National Park (YNP) visitors while trophy hunting benefits hunters outside of the park. We investigate the policy scope of gray wolf management across jurisdictional boundaries by incorporating three foundations of the behavioral ecology of wolves: refuge-seeking behavior, optimal foraging group size and territoriality. Tradeoffs between and within consumptive and non-consumptive human benefits and wolf population fitness and life history indicators are quantified as a set of elasticities, providing clear implications to resource managers. Our approach highlights that hunting intensity affects the provision of consumptive and non-consumptive human benefits across jurisdictional boundaries and ought to be managed accordingly. We also show that population levels are an incomplete indicator of species fitness, which may depend on how hunting policies impact underlying group ecology. Our findings suggest traditional optimization approaches to wildlife management may lead to suboptimal policy recommendations when the boundaries on the natural system are oversimplified. Highlighting the human element of wildlife management, we show that understanding tourist and hunter responses to wildlife population abundances is critical to balancing provision of consumptive and non-consumptive human uses.

Does Land Degradation Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?
       
     
Does Land Degradation Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?

Barbier, Edward B., and Jacob P. Hochard. "Does Land Degradation Increase Poverty in Developing Countries?." PLOS One 11, no. 5 (2016): e0152973.

Land degradation is a global problem that particularly impacts the poor rural inhabitants of low and middle-income countries. We improve upon existing literature by estimating the extent of rural populations in 2000 and 2010 globally on degrading and improving agricultural land, taking into account the role of market access, and analyzing the resulting impacts on poverty. Using a variety of spatially referenced datasets, we estimate that 1.33 billion people worldwide in 2000 were located on degrading agricultural land (DAL), of which 1.26 billion were in developing countries. Almost all the world’s 200 million people on remote DAL were in developing countries, which is about 6% of their rural population. There were also 1.54 billion rural people on improving agricultural land (IAL), with 1.34 billion in developing countries. We find that a lower share of people in 2000 on DAL, or a higher share on IAL, lowers significantly how much overall economic growth reduces poverty from 2000 to 2012 across 83 developing countries. As the population on DAL and IAL in developing countries grew by 13% and 15% respectively from 2000 to 2010, these changing spatial distributions of rural populations could impact significantly future poverty in developing countries.

Debt, Poverty and Resource Management in a Rural Smallholder Economy
       
     
Debt, Poverty and Resource Management in a Rural Smallholder Economy

Barbier, Edward B., Ramón E. López, and Jacob P. Hochard. "Debt, poverty and resource management in a rural smallholder economy." Environmental and Resource Economics 63, no. 2 (2016): 411-427.*

*Recipient of the 2016 Best Publication in Environmental and Resource Economics Award. 

This paper develops a model to capture the key features of poverty, credit constraints and resource management faced by poor rural households. We assume that, due to the existence of asymmetric information and moral hazard, the household faces an increasing cost of credit as its debt/equity ratio rises. A household exploiting a natural resource may fall into a poverty trap, but only if it is unable to afford the increasing borrowing costs implied by increasing debt to allow it to avoid such a trap, or if it discounts future utility so much that a balanced growth path cannot be financed at any level of long-run borrowing. In contrast, along an optimal balanced growth path, the household’s asset wealth, purchased inputs, resource stock and consumption increase at the same constant rate. However, over the long run there may be carrying capacity limits that prevent the resource from improving further. The household may then direct its savings to accumulating financial assets, and eventually under certain conditions may become a net creditor with resource exploitation becoming a less and less important source of its income.

GRAY WOLF POPULATION PROJECTION WITH INTRASPECIFIC COMPETITION
       
     
GRAY WOLF POPULATION PROJECTION WITH INTRASPECIFIC COMPETITION

Hochard, J., and D. Finnoff. "GRAY WOLF POPULATION PROJECTION WITH INTRASPECIFIC COMPETITION." Natural Resource Modeling 27, no. 3 (2014): 360-375.

Competition effects are incorporated into a model of wolf-population dynamics. A classic single-state model is augmented into a dual-state mapping of the evolution of the size of wolf packs and the number of wolf packs. This dual-state model, unlike the single-state density dependent model, is amenable to analyzing intraspecific competition. The single-state, dual-state and dual-state with competition models are estimated using Yellowstone National Park (YNP) data on wolf populations and pack structures from 1996 to 2011. The dynamic properties of each model are examined under an array of harvesting policies. Results suggest that intraspecific competition matters when projecting wolf populations. Wolf pack removal has competition-reducing effects from added territory availability, making populations more sensitive to pack size reduction than reduction in the number of packs. This research suggests that wildlife managers may consider monitoring the composition of wolf kills throughout a harvesting season, adaptively adjusting harvesting quotas and delineating harvesting zones over a few pack territories rather than spreading these effects evenly across all packs.